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Descriptive Template

descriptive templat design dimensions

Design Dimensions

Here are the existing design dimensions, already useful for pervasive experience design but not complete. I have started to add some simple notes, will repost at a later date with more additional dimensions.

Production Values

“professional” // “amateur”

The terms professional and amateur can be problematic. In this context we mean whether sounds and images, especially sounds, were polished to broadcast standard.How important is sound quality? Some content is so intriguing it doesn’t seem to matter, other times the production values really enhance the experience.


private // public

solitary // shared

How many people are you designing for, are they alone or in groups? Are they taking the same or different routes – do they receive the same media, have a different but related experience, or do they all get the same media at the same time?

Relation to Experience

augmentation // ‘complete’

Is the experience designed to augment something that exists already in the physical world, i.e. is it an extra layer on top of something you could do anyway as opposed to a ‘complete’ in itself, standalone experience. For example, there may be less need for digital screen-based imagery if the experience takes place in a visually-rich environment that is relevant to the content.

Of Time

fixed running time // open running time

permanent installation // one off event

Experiences can range from short events to long-running installations. They may be designed for one use only or for revisits.

Of Data Depth

one level of data // several levels

An experience may be composed of several levels that can be accessed through further interaction. This interaction could be triggered by movement, button press, screen tap, gesture, length of time spent in a particular location, and will depend on the technical capabilities of the devices that deliver the experience.

Of Space/Place

arbitrary mapping // meaningful mapping

What relationship is there between the location and the content?
How important is the context to the experience?
As the technology we used to build the experiences has developed, we have started to think of anchored and portable experience; ones which are built to unfold in one place, and others that can be played anywhere. This does not necessarily mean that they are meaningful to that place. It is also possible to build an experience that can be untethered and relocated, or that has elements that take place in multiple locations.

Of user control

none // complete

clear rules // unclear rules

How does the application answer the question: ‘What am I supposed to do?’
Are the ‘rules of engagement’ made transparent for the user at the start of the experience or must they be experientially acquired in the experience itself?
An application aiming to offer complete user control should expect a longer user control learning curve.
How far does the experience seek to facilitate emergent behaviours?

Of immersion

surface // depth

information // evocation

Immersion: can you deliberately create a more immersive experience, what hooks can you build to draw the user back in to the piece?A less immersive experience will concentrate on the physical surroundings of the user, and may be of a more informational than evocative kind. A more immersive experience would use data that complemented or in some way went beyond the physical environment, eg by evoking its history or other memories of it, or by using sound in very creative ways.

A different kind of Immersion (closer to concentration or engagement) may also be created through the social interaction which an experience necessitates.

With deep immersion or concentration, a loss of sense of physical surrounding seems important and pleasurable to users. The sensation of moving through different levels of immersion seems to be very pleasurable, of surfacing – of course the sensation of movement through levels is relative, only noticed as it changes.